RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Americans are concerned with their local government’s ability to protect their community’s critical infrastructure and services in this era of prolific data breaches and ransomware attacks. In fact, 71 percent of Americans feel their state and local governments should spend now on cybersecurity and data protection before an attack occurs, and 74 percent also noted politicians need to take protection of personal data more seriously. This is according to a recent survey conducted by SecurityFirst™, a leading provider of data-centric cybersecurity solutions.
Going beyond just financial repercussions, 64 percent of citizens noted cyberattacks, like ransomware, could have a potentially negative and long-term impact on their community. Most are concerned (60 percent) it can impact their local government’s ability to provide critical services including first responders (77 percent), municipal utilities (74 percent), courts (68 percent) and public schools (68 percent).
“Cybercriminals are finding local government agencies to be prime targets for cyberattacks. The City of Atlanta is a recent example, where a ransomware attack is costing the city millions of dollars, after knocking out critical services and erasing years of sensitive data,” said Jim Varner, CEO and president of SecurityFirst. “This incident shows how, without data, our communities cease to function in any sort of fashion today’s citizens find acceptable. Data protection needs to be top of mind no matter the size of the community or agency.”
Atlanta’s current issues have many local governments reassessing their cyber defenses, but interestingly, only 25 percent of Americans had heard about the city’s ransomware attack, now reported to have cost nearly $10M – and growing. Nevertheless, other city and community leaders are using this documented example to argue for deploying more preventative measures, something their state-level counterparts have already identified according to the State CIO Top Ten Policy and Technology Priorities for 2018, published by National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).
Despite the lack of awareness of Atlanta’s troubles, over half of respondents (52 percent) expected they’d be personally affected if their local government experiences a cyberattack. Faith in local leaders to protect their personal data is low, with a mere third (33 percent) believing their communities are equipped to keep data safe in the event of an attack. Maybe this is why only 40 percent feel their local government considers the protection of its citizens’ data on par with other essential health and human services.
“Civic leaders with the foresight to improve data protection may not be celebrated as a local hero, because no one talks about attacks that never happened,” continued Varner. “But these efforts can help a government keep key services operating smoothly even in the face of a serious event such as in Baltimore, where critical 911 and 311 emergency services were offline for up to 17 hours after a cyberattack.”
Here are some additional findings:
Campaign advice: Politicians may want to pay more attention to data privacy, as 59 percent of citizens say they would likely support someone who makes data protection a priority. There is a big opportunity here, as only 30 percent stated they have heard politicians addressing data privacy and protection while campaigning for office.
Footing the bill: 46 percent surveyed approve of community investments in data protection, knowing it could reduce spending in other areas or raise taxes – conversely just 19 percent disagreed.
Generation gap: It’s not the younger and traditionally more digitally savvy consumers up in arms about the potential impact of cyberattacks on their community. They found 68 percent of Baby Boomers (55+) noted concern it could affect their community’s ability to deliver key services, compared to a lesser 56 percent of Generation X (ages 35 to 54) and 55 percent of Millennials and early Generation Z (18 to 34).
As ransomware and other threats pose a growing threat for the public sector and business alike, organizations need to be prepared to minimize any business disruption as well as potential data loss. To learn about how SecurityFirst helps its customers protect data and help recover from ransomware and other server issues, visit: https://securityfirstcorp.com/ransomware-recovery/
SecurityFirst commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,113 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 13-14, 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).
About SecurityFirst and DataKeep
SecurityFirst™ delivers data-centric solutions that address the high-profile cyber threats facing organizations today, such as data breaches, ransomware and cloud security. We emphasize protection of the data itself to serve as your last line of defense. Data is always protected no matter where it resides and recoverable in the event of an unexpected failure or malicious attack. As organizations and governments mandate stricter requirements for data privacy, SecurityFirst helps protect data from compromise and exposure.
DataKeep™, by SecurityFirst, secures critical data at its core to deliver unrivaled protection, control and resiliency. Customer-defined access policies, strong encryption and event logging combine with native secure backup/restore capabilities to address your data privacy, compliance and recovery needs. Organizations can utilize the backup and restore capabilities with object storage for secure cloud backup and archiving to improve resiliency and enable prompt recovery of archived data in the event of a ransomware attack.